Calling all Galveston Island beachgoers, architecture enthusiasts, history buffs and unique Airbnb aficionados. Cross an item off your bucket list when you stay the night at Galveston’s famous Kettle House.
Sitting on a grassy lot off of Galveston’s Termini-San Luis Pass Road, the structure at 1410 Miramar Dr., best described as a oddly-shaped steel building with a wood-shingle roof, has long attracted special attention.
An iconic and somewhat mysterious fixture on the island for decades, the unique building dubbed “The Kettle House” is the creation of Alabama-born WWII veteran Clayton E. Stokley, according to Stokley’s daughter, Mary Etheridge-Rachels, who spoke to Dallas-based writer Linda Armstrong about the structure back in 2017.
Back in the 1960s, Stokley worked for Graver Tank & Manufacturing Co. Inc. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and over time, he developed a plan to purchase his company’s discounted steel materials (Graver sold steel to its employees at cost) to construct various commercial spaces he intended to operate. Among them, Etheridge-Rachels said, was “a convenience and liquor store on Navigation Street, a convenience store on Harrisburg, and a nightclub off 45 and highway 646.”
Following those undertakings, Stokley set his sights on a new store, which he intended to operate at 1410 Miramar Drive. Around that time, an odd structure his company had crafted for a client came into play as a potential structure for the store.
“Graver had created a massive sphere for a client made out of three-eighths-inch steel,” Etheridge-Rachels told Armstrong. “However, the deal fell through, and Graver was left with this giant, hollow, steel ball. So my dad bought it and decided he’d build a convenience and liquor store on the island.”
Stokley transported the steel structure to 1410 Miramar Drive where he and ragtag assemblage of friends and family set about transforming it into a functional store.
“We broke it down into parts and shipped the whole thing to Galveston on an 18-wheeler,” Etheridge-Rachels told Armstrong. “Then my dad and everyone he could find — myself, my brothers, my mom, our uncles, our cousins, distant relatives, and friends — went down there on the weekends to construct the building ourselves.”
Unfortunately, Stokley’s plans for the space never came to fruition. Soon after the exterior of The Kettle House had been constructed, Stokley suffered a stroke, leaving him unable to complete the project. He died in 2005, Etheridge-Rachels told Armstrong.
Stokley willed the home to Etheridge-Rachels upon his passing. Through the years, Etheridge-Rachels did what she could to maintain, and at times spruce up, her father’s unfinished project but her attention was focused elsewhere. Soon after her father’s death, any and all construction plans came to a halt when Etheridge-Rachels’ husband was diagnosed with cancer. He died in 2016 after a 12-year fight with myeloma, Etheridge-Rachels told Armstrong.
Come 2017, Etheridge-Rachels put The Kettle House on the market.
Soon, Galveston couple Michael and Ashley Cordray of Save 1900 purchased the structure, renovated it for their home makeover show, “Big Texas Fix,” and opened it up to the public for short-term rentals on Airbnb.
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This lil teapot was short and stout!! But not anymore. The structure has puzzled people since the 60s....what is it? Here’s a few answers to some questions I see a lot. No it’s not hot inside anymore...it has closed/open cell foam insulation as well as 4 zoned mini split ACs that in my opinion are currently keeping it too cold! No I don’t think it has any chance of floating away...in Hurricane Ike 2008 it would have received over 15’ of water and its still here. Will it be for sale...no...by the end of the month we will have it listed on @airbnb and we couldn’t be happier to welcome guests to this quirky little house. What other questions do you have about it?? Watch #bigtexasfix tonight on @diynetwork 9/8c PM. #kettlehousegalveston #save1900
Now, beachgoers with an affinity for the odd can escape the banality of everyday architecture for a beach retreat like no other.
The Kettle Home sports two-bedrooms, a wraparound deck and a Mid-Century modern aesthetic.
On the listing’s Airbnb page, dozens of comments from former guests praise the Insta-worthy accommodations.
“This is such an amazing place, so unique and special,” wrote Laura, who stayed in July 2020. “You can tell all the love put in every detail. Super clean, you will find literally everything you need in this house, and location couldn’t get any better. Ashley and Michael are so responsive. I had never had this level of super fast communication with any other Airbnb host. Definitely planning on coming back to The Kettle Home!!!”
Another happy camper complimented the Airbnb’s gracious hosts, Ashley and Michael.
“An awesome experience,” wrote Don, who stayed in June 2019. “Ashley & Michael have preserved the unique character of the kettle and added modern comforts for an exciting stay in one of Galveston’s most recognizable landmarks. The expansive deck is an incredible feature and provides an open-air venue to enjoy the Gulf experience ! Ash and Mic are wonderful hosts and outstanding communicators. Don’t miss this opportunity to share a remarkable part of Galveston history!
Ashley and Michael boast the title “Superhosts,” a designation reserved for Aribnb hosts considered a cut above the rest.
The Kettle House rents for $223 a night. For more information, visit airbnb.com.
Now, enough with the words. Why blab on and on about this vacation rental when we can let these photos talk the talk for us? Scroll below to take a peek inside this wacky, weird, and incredible space.
What do you think about The Kettle House’s transformation? Would you stay the night? Let us know in the comments below.